The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Briefs show administration's intentions to legalize torture

by Jon Elmer

June 9, 2004 – A pair of internal memos have surfaced illustrating the Bush Administration’s attempts, both within the Justice and Defense Departments, to find a legal framework for the use of torture in the interrogation of enemies. A 50-page Justice Department brief signed by the head of the administration’s Office of Legal Counsel and delivered to White House Counsel Alberto R Gonzales states that torture "may be justified" and that international law "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogation" because of the necessity for self-defense, the Washington Post reported. The document dated August 1, 2002 was drawn up at the request of the CIA in order to craft more aggressive techniques for their field operatives. A former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer told the Post that the brief is considered akin to a legally binding document because it was signed by the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Jay S Bybee. Attorney General John Ashcroft appeared before a Congressional hearing yesterday and refused to release the memo, which has only been leaked. Also, The Wall Street Journal reported a second memo, dated March 2003, that is a draft of legal advice by the Defense Department’s chief counsel. It states: "Because nothing is more important than 'obtaining information vital to the protection of untold thousands of American citizens', normal strictures on torture might not apply."

Send to Friends Respond to Editors or Reporter

The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Jon Elmer is a contributing journalist.

Recent contributions by Jon Elmer: